Tykes tangle a huge one for title-hunting Rotherham Titans

​ROTHERHAM Titans lock horns with Leeds Tykes in their biggest match of the season this weekend.
BIG PRESENCE: Titans' John Okafor in the thick of it.BIG PRESENCE: Titans' John Okafor in the thick of it.
BIG PRESENCE: Titans' John Okafor in the thick of it.

It’s the clash of National Two North’s only two unbeaten teams and will go some way to deciding who claims the only promotion spot back to the third tier of English rugby.

Titans trail their hosts from Bramhope by seven points with a game in hand, so even a five-point victory wouldn’t be enough to overhaul them. A defeat could leave Roth’ as many as 12 points behind and that’s something they will be desperate to avoid.

Even with the season not yet at the halfway stage, the victors will have a big psychological advantage going forward.

PERCH: head coach Gareth Lewis keeps watch. Pictures by KERRIE BEDDOWSPERCH: head coach Gareth Lewis keeps watch. Pictures by KERRIE BEDDOWS
PERCH: head coach Gareth Lewis keeps watch. Pictures by KERRIE BEDDOWS

Head coach Gareth Lewis said: “It’s not a season-defining game by any stretch. There will be plenty of twists and turns, but it is a big game.

“Both sides have a rich history. Let’s not forget both have been in the higher echelons of the English game so I think it will be a great match and hopefully we can attract a decent Yorkshire crowd along.

“Obviously we have to play Leeds twice but if we can get that marker up on them and get a win it would be a huge boost to the club.”

Leeds have the best attacking stats in the division, averaging nearly 40 points per game, while Titans have the meanest defence.

NEARLY: Rotherham's Will Milner gets sight of the try line.NEARLY: Rotherham's Will Milner gets sight of the try line.
NEARLY: Rotherham's Will Milner gets sight of the try line.

Rotherham sport the most prolific points scorer in Lloyd Hayes while Tykes, relegated down from National One last term, have the highest try scorer in Harry Dukes with 13.

It is set up for an intriguing contest that is too close to call.

“It could well be a contrast in styles. We have our strengths and they have their strengths,” added Lewis.

“Leeds have a very exciting back three. They have a lot of youth on their side and they like to play coast to coast but hopefully we can impose ourselves and not really worry about the opposition.

DRIVE: Loma Kivalu makes the hard yards against Hull.DRIVE: Loma Kivalu makes the hard yards against Hull.
DRIVE: Loma Kivalu makes the hard yards against Hull.

“If we play to our potential we will be a difficult team to beat and what I can say, having been here a few weeks now, is that there is a real togetherness and a tremendous team spirit in the camp.”

Kick-off tomorrow is 2.30pm.